Defining Youth Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, School Shootings

By Nikolas Pullen

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Center for Injury Research and Prevention defines youth violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person or group that results in high likelihood of injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation among persons ages 10 to 24.” In order to effectively address these issues, it is of crucial significance to take notice that youth violence can take on a variety of different forms, ranging from bullying and domestic violence, to much more serious cases such as school shootings.

Bullying in schools is the most prevalent form of youth violence. According to the CDC, in 2011, 20.1% of students in grades 9-12 reported being bullied on school property in the past 12 months at the time of surveying. Bullying can be very diverse in its forms. Most typically bullying consists of minor physical harm, verbal taunting, as well as sustained power projection over its victims by the bully. While the physical injuries, if there are any remarkable ones to speak of, are in almost all cases fairly minor, the mental pressure caused by bullying can often have a much more devastating effect. Rather than causing a hospital visit, one can instead lose self confidence and even resort to self harm.logo-safe-horizon

Domestic violence is also often a major complication for a child’s day to day life, even if not directed at the child. Domestic violence, known to professionals who work in the field as intimate partner violence (IPV for short), can be seen in many different forms. As stated by the victim assistance organization Safehorizon, some of the more common features of IPV can include actual physical violence, threats of physical violence, name calling, and stalking to name a few.

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Center for Injury Research and Prevention, 15.5 million children in the US alone experience domestic violence in their household. Results of children being simply present in such an environment can include child neglect, major physical or emotional damage, or, in rare cases, death. In addition, children who grow up in households where IPV is present are approximately twice as likely to perpetrate domestic violence later on in life, continuing a cycle of abuse.

School shootings have become seemingly a regular occurrence as we progress into the 21st century. As stated by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Center for Injury Research and Prevention School, school shootings, in addition to cutting short the lives of teachers and students in a violent manner, almost always causes traumatic disorders, anxiety, depression, and paranoia among witnesses and family. Some will have these effects for a long duration of time, causing great distress.

From 1996 to 2011, 60 school shootings occurred. Rates of violent crime in schools, however, have decreased from 1.3 per 100 students in 1994 to 0.4 per 100 students in 2007, or an approximately 70 percent decrease. Deaths as a result of school violence decreased from 1992 to 2006 and have remained stable since. However, multiple victim shootings increased during the same period, and it is not really known what has caused this one reversal in an otherwise pacifying trend.

To conclude, it is important to have empiricism in order to solve any issues. It is also important to recognize these issues can feed into each other. Domestic violence and bullying, for example, are very often factors in the motivation of students and former students to commit school shootings. To have a similar definition and understanding of each form of the numerous varieties of school related violence is essential to create a safer, brighter future for tomorrow’s adults. But in order to do that successfully, we must start today.

References:

1. Types of Violence Involving Youth. (n.d.). In The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Center for Injury Research and Prevention. Retrieved from https://injury.research.chop.edu/violence-prevention-initiative/types-violence-involving-youth#.V61DCDXlbuM

2. Youth Violence Facts at a Glance. (2012). Retrieved August 13, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf

3. Domestic Violence Facts & Statistics – Safe Horizon. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2016, from https://www.safehorizon.org/get-informed/domestic-violence-statistics-facts/#statistics-and-facts/

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